Internationals need “a miracle”

THE Internationals won the afternoon Four-ball matches 3 to 2 but face an uphill battle going into the final day of the 2011 Presidents Cup.

The US lead 13 to 9 after an epic Saturday of 10 matches with 12 singles matches on Sunday to go.

The American team need just 17 ½points to win the contest, meaning the Internationals need to win at least eight of the 12 singles matches.

Long-time Internationals team member Ernie Els said they needed to pull off “a miracle” to win

“We have to do a Brookline, we have to do a miracle tomorrow,” the big South African said.

“It can be done. The guys are in there and they are ready to go. It’s going to be a once in a lifetime deal if we pull it off, but it can be done.”

There were some heroic performances on both sides of the dual today, with Royal Melbourne throwing another curve ball into the mix, turning on some bitterly cold and wet conditions to contrast the turbo-blasted furnace that was Friday.

Play began at 7 am with five alternate shot foursome matches and ended near dusk after five four-ball matches.

The bane of the international team all week has proven to be the alternate shot format, much more familiar to the Ryder Cup playing Americans. The US team won the morning foursome sessions 4 to 1.

In making their singles match-ups for Sunday, both captains said they had put their “older” players last to give them more time to recover from the conditions and little sleep that all players had experienced.

Explaining his selection strategy, US captain Fred Couples said: “I think just like Greg’s team, we are all cold, tired and we put some of our older guys later so they could sleep in until eight or nine o’clock and that’s basically about it.

Internationals captain Greg Norman said he was extremely proud of his team.

“We won the session today,” Norman said. “When you look at the four-ball compared to the alternate shot you can see where the balance of our power really sits.”

Norman was adamant the Internationals could still win.

“Right now we have our backs against the wall, no question about it. You’ve got to believe that you can come back, win nine matches out  12 to win this. I believe the guys can.”

Couples was full of praise for his players but wanted his more experienced team members to stress to the team that the tournament was far from over.

“These last two days have been kind of ridiculous on how hard they have been,” he said.

Els looking for a miracle

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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. A former Sydney journalist, he launched ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples and Karrie Webb. He has also reported on numerous amateur tournaments, particularly national senior and veteran events. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best Golf News Report 2016 - 2017.


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